UP Cop’s Decision to Maintain Beard May Not Be Protected Under Article 25: HC

The court observed that a law enforcing agency must have a secular image.

2 min read
Hindi Female

The Allahabad High Court observed on Monday, 23 August, that a police official continuing to not shave his beard, despite there being a direction/circular issued by higher officials for the same, may not be protected under Article 25 of the Constitution (Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice, and propagation of religion).

"India does not confer absolute right in this regard, all rights have to be viewed in context, letter, and sprit in which they have been framed under the Constitution."
Allahabad High Court

The court also said that it is not only wrong behaviour, but a misdemeanour, misdeed, and delinquency by the official.

The court, further, observed that the police force has to be a disciplined force and being a law enforcing agency, it is necessary that such force must have a secular image.

What Else Did the Court Say?

Stating that they did not find any informity or illegality in the circular issued by the DGP, the court said:

“No interference should be done, in as much as, maintaining and wearing a proper uniform as well as maintaining physical appearance is one of the first and foremost requirement of the members of a disciplined force.”


With regard to the inquiry being conducted against the constable, the court said that the inquiry officer shall conduct and conclude the departmental inquiry strictly in accordance with law, following the principles of natural justice, and preferably within three months.

What Was the Case?

The court’s observations, made by a bench of Justice Rajesh Singh Chauhan, came in a plea by Mohd Farman, a constable in UP Police. The plea, as per LiveLaw, was against a 2020 circular issued by the state’s Director General of Police (DGP). Certain guidelines were issued in the circular, with regard to uniform and appearance required for the member of a disciplined force.

Constable Farman, had been suspended in contemplation of a departmental probe, because “despite being a member of disciplined force” and specific direction by a superior authority to shave his beard, he had maintained it.

Farman had also challenged the suspension order and the rejection of his application for permission to maintain his beard – in accordance with religious tenets – by the relevant authorities.

(With inputs from LiveLaw)

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